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Snowden: Don't use Dropbox, it hates privacy

James Temperton
18 Jul 2014
Edward Snowden
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NSA whistleblower warns people to stop using Dropbox, labelling it a "wannabe" partner in mass government surveillance

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has told people to stop using Dropbox, claiming that it is "hostile to privacy" and a "wannabe" partner in the mass collection of data by the US government.

Speaking from Moscow, where he is currently living in exile, the former NSA contractor said that Dropbox was a privacy disaster waiting to happen. He claimed that Dropbox's appointment of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board was a huge problem, labelling her "probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine".

Snowden said that Rice's record of supporting warrantless collection of communications had big implications for Dropbox. Speaking to The Guardian he warned that Dropbox was "hostile to privacy" and couldn't be trusted.

He said that cloud storage services that had no way of accessing your data were the only ones that people should use.

"By depriving themselves of the ability to read the information, of the ability to sort of analyse and manipulate the information without the customers' consent or authorisation, that's the only way they can prove to the customers that they can be trusted with their information," he claimed.

He gave the example of Spideroak, a company that has "zero knowledge" of its customers and their documents, images and videos.

"Spideroak has structured their system in such a way you can store all of your information on them with the same sort of features that Dropbox does, but they literally had have no access to the content."

Spideroak uses a unique key only known to the user to decrypt and open files. This means that security and law enforcement agencies would need to obtain a warrant to get the encryption key from the user to snoop on their files. Snowden claims that this could help stop widespread, warrantless surveillance of internet users.

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